Monday, February 26, 2024

Mechanical Bonuses

 In the vein of Signature Moves for Humanoid Combatants, this is another simple generator, applying one number on your character sheet to another number. This kind of mechanic is common in systems like Pathfinder 1E, which I once played quite a bit of, but are more rare in the OSR games I tend to favor these days. I think there's still room for them in different places. Instead of making classes with stacks of such abilities, they can differentiate a world of strange creatures, artifacts, plants, substances, and strangenesses.

Treat these simple outputs as a starting point. They lack context, and you may wish to tailor them to specific situations. It can be fruitful to imagine the ability as a byproduct of something really bizarre. For example, you could explain an ability like "May use your listen at door chance in place of breath saves" as a lagniappe on a character who has been transformed into a creature moldable like clay, who can squish against flat surfaces better than they can tumble out of the way of dragonfire. This might suggest other advantages,-- maybe this character never has to worry about breaking their bones. When selecting options for the generator, I took an inclusive view in order to maximize weirdness, so there will be some duds.

When brainstorming what form these bonuses take, keep in mind how players will treat an effect that can be swapped around, like one that affects the wearer of a magical item. Some abilities are best when they’re stuck to a particular PC, whether by mutation, training, specific blessing, or other means.

This generator has potential use for curses and drawbacks if you invert the result. Replace a “may” with a “must” or a bonus with a penalty.

As always, thanks to Spwack for his generator generator.

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